Chasing the Norm

Australian academic and blogger on politics, international relations, and culture

Australian Foreign Policy

‘Australian Foreign Policy’ (with Chris Roberts) in The Rudd Government, edited by Chris Aulich and Mark Evans Australian Commonwealth Administration Series, ANU-E-Press, 2010

In 2007, when Kevin Rudd was sworn in as Prime Minister, he was widely expected to be a strong leader of Australian foreign policy (Manne 2008). While most analysts believed that a strong alliance with the United States would be maintained, it was also anticipated that Rudd would reassert a traditional Labor preference for stronger engagement with Asia. For those concerned that the previous Howard government had drifted too far into the orbit of US influence, Rudd also provided the hope that Australia would return to a more independent middle-power activism with action on issues such as nuclear non-proliferation and climate change. Finally, Rudd’s experience in China—first as a student and later as a diplomat—also suggested an opportunity to solidify Australia’s relationship with China, its largest non-allied trading partner. Many of these perceptions, however, were not fully realised by the conclusion of Rudd’s prime ministership and problematic episodes in foreign policy were, at times, compounded by the Prime Minister’s chaotic and overcentralised leadership style. While his personal activism did lead to a number of foreign policy successes, including the elevation of the G-20 as the world’s primary economic forum, on balance, Rudd’s single term in office did not live up to expectations.

Download the chapter [PDF format].


Download the full book from the publishers website.